Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Can we pretend the Indy films were just a trilogy? Because from the opening moment when the prairie dog pops his head out of the ground to the sequences with young sidekick Shia LaBeouf swinging from trees with monkeys, I found Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (F) stomped on everything this franchise held sacred. Harrison Ford gives a truly haggard performance opposite a poorly-accented Cate Blanchett as a Russian villain. There is also a survivable nuclear blast and a UFO visit. And surprisingly, there’s not one interestingly staged action sequence. There are cameos from past movies, and then those characters are given nothing interesting to do. This is the only film in the series in which the quest isn’t well articulated, in which the characters are lazy and cynical and in which there’s little joy or continuity from scene to scene. A 19-year hiatus between films should have yielded better than this. It’s an epic misfire.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2008

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